Cutting chain can cause injury if incorrectly fitted to a
chain saw or if the saw is used improperly. Install, adjust and maintain
the chain as recommended. Beware of kickback, particularly when cutting
with the bar nose. Kickback can lead to dangerous loss of control of
the chainsaw and result in serious injury to the saw operator or
bystanders. Before using any chain saw, thoroughly read the
manufacturer's operating and safety instructions.
Bar nose kickback is one of the more common causes of
serious chain saw injury accidents. The Technical Services Department of
OREGON�, Blount Inc. offers a free
safety seminar program to our customers in the United States. If your
organization uses chain saws, and if safety for your people is a high
priority, look into our Service School Program.
Kickback may occur when the moving chain at the nose or
tip of the guide bar touches an object, or when the wood closes in and
pinches the saw chain in the cut. Tip or bar nose contact can, in some
cases, cause a lightning-fast reverse reaction, kicking the guide bar up
and back toward the operator. Pinching the cutting chain along the top
of the guide bar may push the guide bar rapidly toward the operator.
Either of these reactions may cause you to lose control of the saw,
which could result in serious personal injury to yourself or to
The top of the tip of the chain saw guide bar is known as
the KICKBACK DANGER ZONE. When contact is made with an object such as a
branch or a log, there is a danger of a sudden bar nose kickback
Modern chain saws are equipped with a variety of devices
intended to reduce the risk of injury from kickback or from other
causes. Among these are the chain brake, the front (left) hand guard,
the bar tip guard and low or reduced kickback saw chain and guide bars.
To assure the protection afforded by these devices is maintained, it is
important your chain saw is properly and fully assembled, and that all
components are securely attached and functional.
No matter how your saw is equipped, OREGON�,
Blount Inc. recommends that low-kickback chain be used on all saws
unless you have experience and special training for dealing with
kickback. Ask your chain saw dealer for OREGON� low-kickback chain meeting ANSI requirements of standard B175.1.
Before using any chain saw, thoroughly read the manufacturer's operating and safety instructions.
General Safety Precautions for Use of Chain Saws
With a basic understanding of your chainsaw and how it is intended
to be used, you can reduce or eliminate the element of surprise from kickback or other unexpected reactions.
You will also be able to maximize the life and utility of the saw
and its cutting attachments. The Technical Services Department of
Oregon Cutting Systems offers a free safety seminar program to our
customers in the United States. If your organization uses chain saws,
and if safety for your people is a high priority, look into our Service
Before using any chainsaw, thoroughly read the
manufacturer's operating and safety instructions.
Do not operate a chainsaw when you are fatigued,
if you have been drinking alcoholic beverages, or if you have
been taking prescription medication or non-prescription drugs.
Use safety footwear, snug-fitting clothing, protective
gloves, and eye, hearing, and head protection.
When cutting, hold the saw firmly with both hands,
with thumbs and fingers encircling both chain saw handles. Grip
the saw with the right hand on the rear (throttle) handle and
the left hand on the front handle, even if you are left handed.
A firm grip will help you maintain control of the saw in the event
of a kickback or other unexpected
reaction. Keep the chainsaw handles dry, clean and free of oil
or fuel mixture to avoid slipping and to aid in control of the
Chainsaws are designed to be run at full speed.
Maintain a full throttle setting while cutting to maximize your
productivity and to reduce fatigue for safer operation.
Cut while standing slightly to the side, out
of the plane of the cutting chain and guide bar to reduce the
risk of injury in the event you lose control of the saw.
Carry the chain saw with the engine stopped,
the guide bar and cutting chain to the rear, and the muffler away
from your body. When transporting your chainsaw, always use the
appropriate guide bar scabbard.
Do not overreach or cut above shoulder height.
It is very difficult to control the saw in awkward positions.
Do not operate a chainsaw in a tree or from a
ladder unless you have been specifically trained and are equipped
to do so. There is a risk that you can lose your balance because
of cutting forces on the saw or movement of material being cut.
Some cutting tasks require special training and
skills. Remember, there is no substitute for good judgment. If
you are in doubt, contact a professional.
To avoid the risk of kickback,
make sure that the area in which you are cutting is free from
obstructions. Do not let the nose of the guide bar contact a log,
branch or any other obstruction while you are operating the saw.
Do not cut near chain link fences, wire fences, or in areas where
there is loose or scrap wire.
Do not start cutting trees until you have a clear
work area, secure footing, and a planned retreat path from the
Be careful in the event the wood closes in and
pinches the saw. The 'push' force which is exerted when the top
chain is pinched can add unexpectedly to any 'pull' force you
may use when attempting to pull the saw free. You may pull the
moving chain into yourself.
Use extreme caution with cutting small-size brush
and saplings because slender material may catch the cutting chain
and be whipped toward you or pull you off balance.
When cutting a limb or sapling that is under
tension (called a springpole), be alert for springback so that
you will not be struck by the limb or chainsaw when the tension
in the limb is released.
Do not allow other persons to be near the chainsaw
when starting the saw or cutting with it. Keep by-standers and
animals out of the work area.
Keep all parts of your body away from the cutting
chain when the engine is running.
Do not operate a chainsaw that is damaged, improperly
adjusted or not completely assembled. Be sure that the cutting
chain stops moving when the throttle control trigger is released.
If you are in doubt regarding the mechanical condition of your
saw, consult your servicing dealer.
Follow the manufacturer's sharpening and maintenance
instructions for the chainsaw. Sharpening cutting chain requires
two steps: sharpening of the cutting edge and adjustment of the
depth gauge setting. When in doubt, see your servicing dealer
for advice or repairs.
Use only replacement bars and cutting chains
specified by the manufacturer, or the equivalent. Guide bars and
cutting chains affect not only performance, but kickback safety as well.
Maintain proper saw chain tension. A loose chain
can come off the guide bar and can strike the operator.
All chainsaw service other than the items mentioned
in the owner's maintenance instructions should be performed by
competent chainsaw service personnel. Improperly performed maintenance
may damage the saw and present a hazard to the operator. For example,
if improper tools are used to remove the flywheel or if an improper
tool is used to hold the flywheel in order to remove the clutch,
structural damage to the flywheel could occur and could subsequently
cause the flywheel to break.
Use caution when handling fuel. Move the chainsaw
at least 10 feet away from the fueling point before starting the
engine. Do not smoke while refueling your saw. Use gasoline powered
chainsaws only in well ventilated areas.
Some Good Saw Chain Advice
- Saw chain is made to cut only one thing: wood. Do not use saw
chain to cut other materials, and never let your chain contact rocks
or dirt during operation. Remember, your saw chain is moving in
excess of 50 miles per hour. In just one second of contact with
a rock or with the ground, each cutter will be impacted more than
- Never force dull chain to cut. When it is sharp, saw chain is
designed to feed itself into the wood, and needs only light pressure
to cut efficiently. Dull chain produces fine wood dust, a sure sign
that maintenance is required.
- To maximize life of your guide bar and chain, maintain proper
chain tension and use high quality lubricant.
- Use only low kickback saw chain
unless you have skills and are trained for dealing with kickback.